City of gold

2015-05-05 06:00

Local tourism companies will stand a chance at taking top honours at the African Responsible Tourism Awards, with the ultimate goal of being the best in the world.

Regional winners will be entered into the World Responsible Tourism competition, the leading global awards recognising achievement and innovation in responsible tourism.

Africa’s winners will be announced in Cape Town in April as part of Africa Travel Week.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy says responsible tourism sees operators putting “the environment, which includes the people of a destination at the centre of its activities”.

“Tourism protects the triple bottom line: people, place and profit,” he says.

This means that tourism should have maximum economic benefit and minimum impact on the ecosystems and cultural traditions of a place, Duminy explains.

In Cape Town, where tourism is such a central economic driver, it is important that the tourism picture includes a variety of voices and enables people to be part of the tourism cycle, he says.

“By bringing a visitor to a township shop, a woman who makes beadwork is able to earn an income without having to travel far from her children,” he says.

Wesgro – the tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for the Western Cape – is the main sponsor for the 2015 African Responsible Tourism Awards.

“These awards will go a long way towards creating awareness of the importance of sustainability along with showcasing and rewarding those who are driving and excelling at it,” says Wesgro chief marketing officer Judy Lain.

The inaugural African Responsible Tourism Awards have already generated significant participation across Africa.

Over 110 nominations have been received from 16 countries and the judging process is already well underway.

Duminy believes Cape Town tour operators are set to shine in the competition.

“Cape Town is already internationally recognised as a front runner in responsible tourism,” he says.

Last year one of the world’s leading ethical agents,, included Cape Town on their list of the top 10 destinations where a visit will make a real difference to local people and conservation efforts, he says.

Last year, BBC Travel named Cape Town as one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world.

The Vandamp;A Waterfront won World Responsible Tourism Gold Awards as the Best Destination and Best City Hotel respectively last year.

Cape Town was also the WWF Earth Hour Capital in 2014, Duminy says.

“We believe that African Responsible Tourism Awards will shine the spotlight on this important stream of tourism and reward those who are making a real difference in the destination,” he says.“We fully believe that there are many deserving candidates in Cape Town.”

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